Stitch helps Referral SaaSquatch meet accounting deadline and improve forecasting and business performance using Google Cloud Platform

It’s common knowledge -- and studies back it up — that referrals from friends not only help people discover brands and products but they also lead to purchases most of the time. But word of mouth marketing relies on organic and random communications between people who are often too busy to spread the word on their own. Referral SaaSquatch offers a platform that makes it easy for companies to help their customers recommend their products and services to others. The Referral SaaSquatch platform helps companies figure out how to reward customers for making referrals and includes analytics tools to see in seconds how the referrals are performing. It is the single biggest acquisition channel for some of its customers. Referred customers typically purchase products at twice the rate of non-referred customers. Referral SaaSquatch has had more than a 100% year-over-year growth rate.

Referral SaaSquatch faced two pressing challenges: First, it needed to meet a fast-approaching deadline from the Financial Accounting Services Board (FASB) for reporting company finances. Because Referral SaaSquatch is a subscription business, the company must report its revenue according to when it earned the revenue, not just when it collected it. Referral SaaSquatch also wanted to uncover metrics that would help it report on business performance to executives, investors, shareholders and employees and take measures to improve the company, such as reduce customer churn rates.

Referral SaaSquatch needed a business intelligence tool to solve both problems. After testing half-a-dozen potential solutions, it chose Google BigQuery because it was more simple and affordable to set up and use and could scale as Referral SaaSquatch’s data needs grew. To import data into BigQuery, it turned to Stitch , a service that helps companies extract, transform and load (ETL) data between databases. Stitch enables customers to stream data to their data warehouse from databases, SaaS tools, ad networks, and more, cutting the time it takes developers to provision data from weeks to minutes.

“BigQuery’s point-and-click configuration makes it simple to set up. Once we set it up, we found it was better at analyzing data and yielding useful business insights.” — Logan Volkers, co-founder and chief operating officer, Referral SaaSquatch

Meeting the FASB deadline

After choosing BigQuery, Referral SaaSquatch had to get data into its data warehouse for BigQuery to analyze. Referral SaasQuatch used Stitch’s data integrations to quickly populate its warehouse by importing data from multiple sources, including Referral SaaSquatch’s own financial data, its website performance metrics, Salesforce, public information about international exchange rates, and others. Stitch’s ability to easily import data was key to helping Referral SaaSquatch meet the FASB deadline. Volkers says, “With Stitch, you don’t need a big data science team to load data into your data warehouse.” It let Referral SaaSquatch consolidate data into BigQuery and then run queries to find the answers it needed.

After moving to BigQuery, Referral SaaSquatch was able to quickly get results that helped it comply with the FASB reporting deadline. It searched Google to find a SQL query for calculating deferred revenue, then adapted the results for a BigQuery search of its data warehouse, which provided a foundation for solving the company’s revenue-recognition issue. In a single afternoon, it had audited months of its revenue from scratch, saving the company time and money. With BigQuery and Stitch, Referral SaaSquatch avoided having to manually export and manipulate data in Excel, which would have made auditing and ad hoc analysis extremely difficult and time-consuming. Without BigQuery, Referral SaaSquatch would have spent tens of thousands of dollars on specialized analytics tools or additional engineering resources, Volkers says.

“Using the combination of Stitch and BigQuery, we’ve become a data-oriented company, which helps us improve the way we work and ensures we better meet our customers’ needs. Stitch provides the magic that makes BigQuery work, because Stitch is what gets stuff into BigQuery. You don't need a big data science team to load data into your data warehouse,” Volkers says.

Improving Referral SaaSquatch business performance

Referral SaaSquatch also gotten more clarity around performance and how its business works to help guide its decision making. Specifically, it’s using the technology to analyze data such as churn rate, successful rates of sales calls and how long it takes to implement referral programs. It uses these metrics for financial reporting, forecasting and customer behavior analysis. The metrics are shared with the CEO, department heads and employees so they can better understand how the business is being run, and fix what is not working well. For example, Referral SaaSquatch now can do seasonal forecasting more easily.

“As a startup, being able to accurately forecast and report on our cash flows and revenue alongside other business metrics is a key requirement to managing our burn, raising money and planning for the future,” Volkers says. “Thanks to Stitch and BigQuery we've gone from insights updated quarterly to data updated within the hour.”

Referral SaaSquatch now has an accurate view of customer activities, which helps reduce churn. It also analyzes customer behavior and uses that information to improve the product interface and feature set. With BigQuery, Volkers says, “We've gotten a lot more clarity and certainty around how our business works.” BigQuery offers Referral SaaSquatch speed, scalability, auditability and a full business intelligence platform, rather than a custom solution aimed only at financial accounting. So Referral SaaSquatch can correlate different types of data with one another to quickly find answers to questions about business information such as churn rates. Queries that would take up to 30 minutes with other solutions complete in BigQuery in under a minute, Volkers says.

“The time to get value using Stitch and BigQuery was incredibly fast; we were set up and querying our data in under a day. The combination of Stitch and BigQuery answered our data needs before other vendors even answered our sales inquiries,” says Volkers.

Referral SaaSquatch also gotten more clarity around performance and how its business works to help guide its decision making. Specifically, it’s using the technology to analyze data such as churn rate, successful rates of sales calls and how long it takes to implement referral programs. It uses these metrics for financial reporting, forecasting and customer behavior analysis. The metrics are shared with the CEO, department heads and employees so they can better understand how the business is being run, and fix what is not working well. For example, Referral SaaSquatch now can do seasonal forecasting more easily.

“As a startup, being able to accurately forecast and report on our cash flows and revenue alongside other business metrics is a key requirement to managing our burn, raising money and planning for the future,” Volkers says. “Thanks to Stitch and BigQuery we've gone from insights updated quarterly to data updated within the hour.” Referral SaaSquatch now has an accurate view of customer activities, which helps reduce churn. It also analyzes customer behavior and uses that information to improve the product interface and feature set. With BigQuery, Volkers says, “We've gotten a lot more clarity and certainty around how our business works."

BigQuery offers Referral SaaSquatch speed, scalability, auditability and a full business intelligence platform, rather than a custom solution aimed only at financial accounting. So Referral SaaSquatch can correlate different types of data with one another to quickly find answers to questions about business information such as churn rates. Queries that would take up to 30 minutes with other solutions complete in BigQuery in under a minute, Volkers says.

“The time to get value using Stitch and BigQuery was incredibly fast; we were set up and querying our data in under a day. The combination of Stitch and BigQuery answered our data needs before other vendors even answered our sales inquiries,” says Volkers.

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